By Shane Stokes
Andrey Kashechkin takes to the courts today (Tuesday) in a bid to use European law to overthrow his suspension from cycling. The Kazakh rider tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion after an anti-doping control in Turkey on August 1 but, rather than fighting it in the usual anti-doping courts, he and his lawyers are claiming that sporting authorities have no jurisdiction when it comes to running such tests on athletes.
His lawyer Luc Misson will argue in a Belgian court today that because bodies such as the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are private rather than public bodies, they have no legal right to interfere in the lives of individuals.
Misson co-defended Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman in his successful 1995 case against restraint of trade. He told AFP that he saw parallels with the two. "The Kashechkin case, as regards [the] anti-doping [rules], could be viewed in a similar vein as the Bosman ruling. It's a case of who wins loses.
"If we lose, we will go to the court of appeal, then the Supreme Court of Appeal, then the European Court of Human Rights. And then we will be in a very good position. At the human rights court it would lead to a [favourable] decision at a world, if not a European level."
However, given that a victory by Kashechkin would plunge the anti-doping fight into chaos, it is perhaps unsurprising that several sporting bodies are hoping that the case is thrown out. The professional cycling teams associations (the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) and the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT)) have both requested to be involved in the case, rejecting the notion that only public bodies can perform such tests.
"If Kashechkin wins on the principle that only public authorities can take care of doping, then we can close shop," IPCT lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont said.